In a move that could set the bar for other carriers and affect the availability of third-party text alert services on the carrier, T-Mobile is planning on enacting a one quarter of one cent surcharge on texts sent to subscribers and users of such services on October 1st.Â Already, some text-based information services such as ChaCha are planning to cease offering text alert support for the carrier in response to the move.
As such SMS-based companies rely on flat-rate SMS pricing from third-party brokers in order to conduct its business, the move from flat-rate SMS distribution to a per text surcharge would severely affect these companies in terms of profitability, although the volume of alerts being sent over T-Mobileâ€™s network is such that the carrier appears to want to take advantage of the volume and additional profit potential by adopting the surcharge.
Itâ€™s important to note that Verizon Wireless attempted to impose a similar, but more costly surcharge of three cents per alert sent in 2008 before the industry and consumer backlash became so strong that the mainstream press covered the attempted move, which led to the abandonment of the surcharge under the guise of a proposal.
Update: T-Mobile has responded to the media with the following statement:
While we donâ€™t disclose the details of our business relationships, we do want to clarify recent mischaracterizations. Business agreements with content aggregators, including messaging fees, have been common practice in the wireless industry for years.Â It is not accurate to characterize these business agreements as new or simply as a price increase.Â We believe our agreement in its entirety is a net positive for our partners.
At the end of the day, our goal is to ensure that the market for mobile data and access to mobile content is a thriving one and that innovation can easily find its way to T-Mobile customers.Â We see nothing in our current business model that is counter to this goal.
Please note, there is no change to our consumer messaging or data plans.